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Summer Movie Reviews

July 24, 2013

Fans of this blog often write to me and say, “Hey, why didn’t you call this place ‘Volcano of Poop?'” That’s a point well taken, but unfortunately not one I have time to explore today. Instead, I thought I’d review all of the summer movies I haven’t seen.

Between the usual summer social engagements, the ongoing work of training and tending to our puppy (Gemma), and the nearly non-stop effort I put into ignoring any and all yardwork, I simply haven’t had the time to see all the movies I’d planned to this summer. For those of you who find yourselves similarly overwhelmed with everyday life, here are recaps of each of them:

This is the End

A hilarious, bawdy romp through a dystopic episode in which the world is being rent asunder by mysterious forces. The movie marks Seth Rogen’s initial foray from the director’s chair. A collection of comedians, including Jonah Hill, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Michael Cera battle to survive by smoking pot and eating cereal.

SPOILER ALERT: In a twist at the end, the camera spins around to show Rogen devouring his director’s chair in an uncontrollable fit of munchies.

Now You See Me

This thrill ride stars Jessie Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson as the leaders of a band of magicians who rob a bank. But get this: the bank they rob isn’t even in the same city they are! And then they give away the money to the crowd they’re entertaining, because if you can do it once, you can probably get away with it again, right? Mark Ruffalo plays an FBI agent hot on the group’s trail. But during an interrogation, Eisenberg’s character throws the handcuffs he was locked in onto Ruffalo’s character  and he just says, “Welp, I gave it a shot.”


At one point in the movie, Isla Fisher’s character refers to Common as “Kanye.”

Monsters University

This animated film is a prequel to Disney Pixar’s 2001 Monsters, Inc.  It follows the familiar duo of Sully and Mike Kozlowski through their adventures in college. Since we don’t know for how long Sully and Mike have been out of college in the original film, it’s not clear when this movie is set. Given the caricatures of FDR, Hitler, Stalin and Churchill who make cameos as professors, though, it would appear to be the early 1940s.

SPOILER ALERT: In a twist at the end, Henry Kissinger is transformed into a real boy.

World War Z

Another end-of-the-world flick, this one traces the misanthropic wanderings of Brad Pitt as a husband and father desperate to escape his family, but beset by the worst kind of  luck. He leads them to the roof of their apartment building to throw them off, there’s a helicopter he has to pretend he arranged for them to go on a ride. He takes them on a cruise to lose them in a crowd of strangers, there’s Frank and Sally from next door to keep them company all week. He tries taking a plane that blows up mid-flight, a parachute hits him in the head on the way down. Can a brother get a break!?!? Eventually, Pitt moves to Russia, figuring no one in their right mind would want to go there.

SPOILER ALERT: In a twist at the end, Pitt is eaten by his zombified family. His final words are, “I’ll take it.”

Despicable Me 2

Another animated film, this movie is a sequel to 2009’s Me Too, which was not animated and followed the story of a recent college graduate with Down’s syndrome who befriends a bar-hopping tramp. Some would consider this cartoon follow up that focuses on the potential reform of a criminal mastermind too great a departure from the original, but I found it easy to follow. Stars Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig.

SPOILER ALERT: The town’s fire department, run by dildo-shaped morons who are two feet tall, is surprisingly competent.

The Lone Ranger

A long-awaited blockbuster starring Johnny Depp as Tonto, and Armie Hammer as the title character. The movie was largely panned by critics, but audiences were not as harsh, perhaps because they spent most of the time convincing themselves that they had seen Hammer in something before and he is well known and definitely the best choice you could make for a $250 million production. Hammer and Depp battle a runaway train, which they defeat by blowing up a bridge.

SPOILER ALERT: In a twist at the end, a brawl breaks though a studio wall and takes over the set of Liberace, which was filming at the same time.

Pacific Rim

This special-effects dynamo is set in the near future, when giant remote-controlled robots are called on to fight Godzilla. (They fight him in the ocean. That’s why it’s “Pacific” Rim, get it?) The movie stars that one guy from The Wire, and a bunch of nobodies you ever heard of. The robots have rocket blasters in the heels of their feet.

SPOILER ALERT: In an effort to fill time and create an engaging backstory at the beginning of the film, the movie’s hero is seen performing his previous occupation, in which he tests toilets by stuffing  as many hoagies down them as he can while still being able to flush. He gets laughs from the other factory workers by quoting Schopenhauer.

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